Tag Archives | still life


Floral Watercolor Still Life – and why we paint what we paint

Surfing the internet entices surreptitious visits to other artists’ studios. The subject of each artists’ work varies; we’ve all seen magnificently executed art featuring everything from a bucket of fish heads to an artfully arranged pile of tangled nude figures. Why an artist choses to paint or draw a particular subject is their secret, but I presume (I know, that’s a dangerous practice) that what we find enticing to render in the studio has something to do with our personal histories. This is my grandmother Margery and one of her dogs (I think this was Gigi, or maybe Buttons, but it was before my time). My maternal …[Continue reading]


Monotype with Watercolor: Persimmon & Vintage Whiskey Bottles (& a lecture on John Singer Sargent)

Here’s a video you can watch, or just listen to while you’re working on something else… Richard Ormond is the former Director of London’s National Maritime Museum and the former Deputy Director of London’s National Portrait Gallery. He is also one of the world’s leading authorities on John Singer Sargent, who was his great Uncle, and he’s published at least 9 volumes on his work. He spoke at The Art League in Virginia on November 5, 2015, and lucky for us, they posted the hour & twenty minute lecture on youtube, so you can listen & watch it too. Artist extraordinaire Robert Liberace introduces him:  If there are other …[Continue reading]


Pen and Ink Watercolor: Lean In Three (new demo video)

Productive in the Studio Happy September to you! Fall Art Festivals will start for me this weekend (If you’re in Thousand Oaks, CA, be sure to visit the Thousand Oaks Arts Festival and say hello!), and there are no less than five projects underway in my studio. It’s a race to the finish line to get deadlines met, show layouts completed and art packed and delivered, but it’s All Good. New Pen and Ink Tutorial Video I just posted a video of the pear art above on my youtube channel (see below), and I’m wondering if the next video should be an introduction to the …[Continue reading]


Pen & Ink: Afternoon Snack (& a video of the process)

What is a Still Life? From Wikipedia: A still life (plural still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on). With origins in the Middle Ages and Ancient Graeco-Roman art, still-life painting emerged as a distinct genre and professional specialization in Western painting by the late 16th century, and has remained significant since then. Still life gives the artist more freedom in the arrangement of elements within a composition than do paintings of …[Continue reading]


Watercolor: Shadow Parade (& a video on lifting watercolor)

Do you have a favorite watercolor paper? I’ve had several, and lately, I love Strathmore Plate Finish Bristol paper. The surface is hot pressed, and sized, so it’s slippery-smooth, and luminous under the pigments, and it’s perfect for lifting watercolor. When I paint at art festivals, watercolor artists strolling the shows frequently ask about the paper I’m using, and they usually reply that they’ve never heard of bristol plate finish.  When I ask what they use if they want the option to lift color, the unanimous answer is that they just don’t. Well, I make lots o’ mistakes, kids, so I Do. Lift. …[Continue reading]


Watercolor: Garden Harvest

I went to a memorial for my lovely, kind-hearted, great uncle Bob yesterday.  He was the last of nine siblings – my paternal grandfather was the eldest and Bob was the youngest. Sad memorials are also splendid family gatherings. My sweet husband sat with me at a big, round table squished against a gaggle of my  gesturing Italian cousins, aged 65 to 9.  Part of the magic of a family tree is that it grows invisible, subterranean roots that keep our hearts connected over continents and decades.  I can spot a cousin across the room, smile, embrace, and pick up where we left off the last time we saw each other, even if it was 6 years ago.  We cousins …[Continue reading]


Watercolor: House Finch & Freesia

Reference Photos for Artists Several times a year, I set up still life vignettes to use as reference material in watercolor paintings. This watercolor is from one of those sessions. If you’ve never created a catalog of scenes to paint, give it a try.  Gather things around your home that might be fun to paint, and pick up some flowers at the grocery store, or grab a bouquet from your garden (even better). You can use sheets, fabric swatches, wrapping paper or table cloths to cover a flat surface, and arrange your collected items on the cloth near a window to get beautiful …[Continue reading]